DEKALB, Ill. — Staff of underground punk newspaper The Shattered Mirror, created by scene members for scene members, noticed a shocking statistic about their reporting: over 90% of their paper is obituaries.
“These days it seems like the only thing we write about is punks dying,” said Editor-in-Chief Marcus Henley. “I go to more funerals now than shows. Live shows are more fun, but funerals tend to smell better, even if there is a corpse there. I would love to write more about new releases, or profiles on bands, but it seems like every day we hear about a member of the scene dying because someone dared them to eat a beer bottle and the glass cut their intestinal wall, or their pet ferret gave them rabies. It’s not all bad, though. Obituaries really sell papers, and I can always count on grieving families to buy a copy.”
Fans of the paper have found that the obituaries help them stay updated on the scene more than any other type of news.
“I love seeing what everyone has been up to, even if that’s mostly just dying. I used to wonder if someone left the scene because they washed out or got a real job or something, but now I’m happy to know that it’s because they died siphoning gas out of someone’s lawnmower,” said avid reader Guy Monoghan. “Every week I just hope that I make it to the next paper, and I hope whenever I bite it, I’ll get a full spread on page four.”
Journalism industry insider Woody Black commented on the success of The Shattered Mirror and its unique content, suggesting the two were correlated.
“There’s a common newspaper adage that ‘if it bleeds, it leads,’ but in this paper it seems if it bleeds, it leads, follows, continues, and concludes. Death sells newspapers, so an audience with a much lower life expectancy is perfect for journalism,” said Black. “Newspapers everywhere are losing readers, but this one has remained profitable, especially with the often entertaining or strange causes of death the paper specializes in. They just need to hope the punk scene keeps attracting younger people, or else their readership is going to die off.”
The Shattered Mirror is expected to run a special edition this Sunday with a touching obituary for the paper’s copy editor who recently died after sticking a firecracker up their own ass.